Sermon 2672. Neither Forsaken Nor Forgotten
INTENDED FOR READING ON LORD'S-DAY, APRIL 29, 1900.
DELIVERED BY C. H. SPURGEON,
AT THE METROPOLITAN TABERNACLE, NEWINGTON, ON LORD'S-DAY EVENING, NOVEMBER 5, 1882.
"Behold, I have engraved you upon the palms of My hands." Isaiah 49:16.
You have probably noticed, dear Friends, while reading the chapter from which our text is taken, that it seems to divide itselfinto two parts. The first portion concerns that glorious Servant of God, "who, being in the form of God, thought it not robberyto be equal with God," even our Divine Redeemer, the Lord Jesus Christ. There is, in this part of the chapter, somewhat ofa complaint-Christ was, as it were, uttering one of His Gethsemane groans when He said, "I have labored in vain, I have spentMy strength for nothing, and in vain: yet surely My judgment is with Jehovah, and My work with My God." As far as our Lord'spersonal ministry among the Jewish people was concerned, it did seem as if He had labored in vain, for almost all of themrejected Him and they even imprecated an awful curse upon themselves and their descendants when they said, "His blood be onus, and on our children." He is here represented as crying out before Jehovah concerning this apparent failure of His earthlymission. And an answer is at once given to Him which must have been eminently satisfactory to our Savior's spirit, for Headds, "Though Israel is not gathered, yet shall I be glorious in the eyes of Jehovah and My God shall be My strength. AndHe said, It is a light thing that You should be My Servant to raise up the tribes of Jacob, and to restore the preserved ofIsrael: I will also give You for a light to the Gentiles, that You may be My salvation unto the ends of the earth." Oh, whatjoy must have filled the heart of our Divine Master, even in the depths of His agony, as He saw that, through His death, allnations should ultimately behold the Light of God's salvation! What though Israel for a while rejected Him? Yet multitudesof the Gentiles would receive Him and then, by-and-by, in the fullness of time, the Jews would also receive Him, and acknowledgeas King the Nazarene whom once they crucified on Calvary!
The second part of the chapter, singularly enough, relates to the Israelite Church and, to a large extent, to the whole Churchof God, and it also contains a complaint. In the expressive language of verse 13, God bids the heavens and the earth rejoice-"Sing,O heavens, and be joyful, O earth; and break forth into singing, O mountains: for Jehovah has comforted His people, and willhave mercy upon His afflicted." Yet, even while that jubilant note is pealing over sea and land, there is heard the wailingof poor forsaken Zion-Judaea's Church, the ancient Church of the living God! She sighs, "'Jehovah has forsaken me and my Lordhas forgotten me.' He is blessing the Gentiles, but I am left unblessed. He is gathering multitudes unto Himself, to glorifyHis Son; but His poor Israel, His ancient choice, His first love, He seems to have left out of all reckoning,' Jehovah hasforsaken me, and my Lord has forgotten me.'" Then comes the Lord's answer, "Can a woman forget her sucking child, that sheshould not have compassion on the son of her womb? Yes, they may forget, yet will I not forget you. Behold, I have engravedyou upon the palms of My hands." Israel shall yet acknowledge her King, her salvation waits for the appointed time. Thereis a high destiny in store for the Israel of God and many shall yet see the day when He who died as King of the Jews shalllive again to wear that title and to be acknowledged as the Head of all the house of Abraham!
My objective, in speaking upon the familiar and precious words of our text, is just this-Sometimes you and I get into thesame sad condition as Zion was then and we fancy that God has forgotten us, so I want to show you that if we are
believers in the Lord Jesus Christ, the Lord gives to us an answer similar to that which He gave to sorrowful Zion, "I haveengraved you upon the palms of My hands." Upon that short sentence I shall try now to speak to you.
I. First, let us think, for a while, upon THE FEAR EXPRESSED-the fear in the hearts of God's people which led to the utteranceof our text. In verse 14, this fear is thus expressed, "Jehovah has forsaken me, and my Lord has forgotten me."
This fear has been felt by very many. Fear is a most contagious and infectious thing. When it has taken hold on one person,it has been often known to spread to many others till a terrible panic has resulted from a very slight cause. Here is thewhole Jewish church expressing the fear that God has forgotten her! I feel sure that I am not now addressing such a churchas that-I hope that the most of those now present know that God has not forgotten them and that they are walking in the lightof His Countenance so that they do not imagine that Jehovah has forsaken them. But, still, this fear has darkened, shall Isay, every sky, and passed before the window of every spirit? Well, I will not go quite that far, yet I know that there mustbe but very few of us who have not, at one time or another, naughtily whispered to our own heart, if we have not said it aloud,"Jehovah has forsaken me, and my Lord has forgotten me." We have gone up to the House of God with our brethren and we haveseen them very happy. The Word of God has been precious to them and they have seemed to enjoy it to the fullest, but we couldnot feed upon it, or get a glimpse of the Well-Beloved. And we have gone out of the place sighing, "Jehovah has forsaken meand my Lord has forgotten me." Have you ever had that thought? If you never have, I hope you never will, but I fear that themost of us have, at some time or other, been subject to that distressing complaint.
And it has sometimes been very plaintively expressed. I t is so in the text. I think I hear the mountains echoing the joyousvoice of God and the very skies reverberating with the song of the redeemed! And then, in between the breaks of the glad chorus,I catch this little mournful note, "Jehovah has forsaken me, and my Lord has forgotten me." Perhaps it is all the more plaintivebecause the tone seems to indicate that Zion felt that she deserved to have it so. She thought herself so insignificant, sosinful, so provoking, that it was no wonder that the great Jehovah should forget her in her littleness-and that the pure andholy God should turn His face away from such iniquity as hers. Brothers and Sisters, I feel sure that you and I must havebeen in that state in which we could weep and groan and sigh because of the joy in the air of which we could not partake,the songs in which we could not unite unless we became utter hypocrites. We heard the sweet strains of the holy merrimentin the Father's House, but we felt that we could not join in it! And we sat by ourselves mourning, with our harps hangingon the willows, while everyone around us only increased our grief in proportion to his own delight. I am trying to speak tosuch troubled souls-God comfort them! There are many such, and their grief is great.
And some, too, are very obstinate while they are in that condition, for our text contains a very unreasonable com-plainer.Read the latter part of the 13th verse. "Jehovah has comforted His people, and will have mercy upon His afflicted." Yet, inthe teeth of that double declaration, Zion said, "Jehovah has forsaken me, and my Lord has forgotten me." Ah, dear Friends,our complaints of God are generally groundless! We get into a state of mind in which we say, "God has forsaken us," when Heis really dealing with us more than He was known to do. A child who is feeling the strokes of the rod is very foolish to say,"My father has forgotten me." No, those very blows, under which he is smarting, are reminders that his father does notforgethim-and your trials and your troubles, your depressions and your sorrows are tokens that you are not forgotten of God. Thechastening which is guaranteed to every legitimate son is coming to you! If you had not been chastened, there would have beenfar more cause for saying, "My Lord has forgotten me." Besides, dear Friend, you have had some comforts though you have hadmany sorrows. You can say, "Comforts mingle with my sighs." Do not forget that. It is not all gall and wormwood-there is somuch honey as greatly to mitigate the bitterness. Think of that and do not obstinately stand to a word which, perhaps, youspoke in haste. If you have said, "My Lord has forgotten me," take back the word, for it cannot be true. You have slanderedHim who can never forget one of His own people! And if you have said, "Jehovah has forsaken me," again I ask you to take backthe evil and false word, and eat it. Never let it be heard again, for it is impossible that Jehovah should change, or thatthe Immutable love of His Infinite heart should ever die out! Be not obstinate about this matter, I implore you! Yet I haveknown some of God's people stick to this grave lie to their own grievous wounding and hurt.
I suppose that Zion came to this conclusion because she was in banishment. She was away from the land that flowed with milkand honey-she was suffering in exile. Is this the conclusion to be drawn from all suffering? Does the vine say, "The vinedresserhas forsaken me because he prunes me so sharply"? Does the invalid say, "The physician has forgotten me because he gives mesuch bitter medicine"? Shall the patient beneath the knife, say, "The surgeon has forsaken me because he cuts even to thebone"? You see at once that there is no reasonableness about such talk, so dismiss it at once! "Judge not the Lord" by outwardProvidences, any more than "by feeble sense," but trust Him even when you can see no trace of His goodness to you. "Let Godbe true, and" every circumstance, as well as "every man, a liar," for God must keep His promise to His people. He is Immutable!He cannot possibly change. He must be true to every word that has gone forth out of His mouth. The fear that God may forsakeand forget His own, if obstinately indulged, will certainly deserve to be set down among the wanton and unreasonable transgressionsof His people against their gracious God.
Yet I think that there is some measure of Grace mingled with this fear Let me read you this passage straight on- "Jehovahhas comforted His people and will have mercy upon His afflicted. But Zion said, Jehovah has forsaken me, and my Lord has forgottenme." She did not say that till God had visited her. "The Lord has comforted His people." He has brought them out of a yetlower depth that they were in and they have been lifted up so high as now to want His Presence, and to sigh for it! BelovedBrothers and Sisters, you who are so deep down in the dungeon, I feel glad that you want to get out of it. There is, in yoursoul, a longing after God, is there not? There is a panting and a crying after peace with God, is there not? You are not satisfiedas long as you even think that God has forsaken you, are you? Ah, then, this is the work of His Holy Spirit in your soul,making you long after the living God, so that there is some sign of Grace even in that discontented moan of yours, for itproves that you cannot bear that God should forsake you! Now, if you belonged to the world, it would be nothing to you ifthe Lord had forsaken you. If there were no Grace in you, you would not care whether God forgot you or not! Indeed, you mightalmost wish that He wouldforget you and not visit you in His wrath. There is, therefore, some trace of His hand in your spirit,even now that you say, "Jehovah has forsaken me, and my Lord has forgotten me."
Besides, although the text is a word of complaint, it has also in it a word of faith-"myLord." Did you notice that? Zion callsJehovah hers though she dreams that He has forsaken her! I love to see you keep the grip of your faith even when it seemsto be illogical-even if you fancy that the Lord has forgotten and forsaken you! Though you fear that it is so, yet you stillsay, "my Lord," held on to this assurance with a death-grip! If you cannot hold on with both hands, hold on with one and if,sometimes, you can hold with neither hand, hold on with your teeth! Let Job's resolve be yours- "Though He slay me, yet willI trust in Him. Though after my skin, worms destroy this body, yet in my flesh shall I see God" "And every scattered grainof this, my dust, shall still confide in God." Oh, for the faith that laughs at impossibilities, that leaps with joy betweenthe very jaws of death, itself, and sings in the very center of the fire! Such a faith as that, whatever weakness there maybe about it, brings glory to God! So I treasure up that little word, "my." There are only two letters in it, but they arefraught with untold hope to the man who can use them as Zion does here, "my Lord."
So much for the fear which the text is intended to meet.
II. Now I come, as God shall help me, to speak concerning THE COMFORT BESTOWED. "I have engraved you upon the palms of Myhands."
This assurance is the Lord's answer to Zion's lament, "Jehovah has forsaken me, and my Lord has forgotten me." So take itfrom God's own mouth and never doubt it! God's remembrance of His people as a whole and of each individual in particular,has been secured by Him beyond all question. "That we might have a strong consolation, who have fled for refuge to lay holdupon the hope set before us," He has said to each of us, "'I have engraved you upon the palms of My hands.' I have done itand I have done that which will render it utterly impossible that I should ever forget one of My people. I the Lord have committedMyself to something which will henceforth render it absolutely certain that I never can forget My own, for, 'I have engravedyou upon the palms of My hands.'"
These words seem to say to us that God has already secured, beyond any possible doubt, His tender memory towards all His own.He has done this in such a way that forgetfulness can never occur at any moment whatever. The memorial is not set up in Heaven,for then you might conceive that God could descend and leave that memorial. It is not set up in any great public place inthe universe, nor is it engraved in a signet ring upon God's finger, for that might be taken off. It is not written upon theAlmighty's clothes-to speak after the manner of men-for He might disrobe Himself for conflict.
But He has put the token of His love where it cannot be laid aside-on the palms of His hands. A man cannot leave his handsat home. If he has put something, by way of memorial, upon the walls of his house or the gates of his home, he may go awayand forget it. Or if, as I have said, he shall write the memorial upon some precious diamond, or topaz, or other jewels whichhe wears, yet he might lay them aside. But God says, "I have engraved you upon the palms of My hands," so that the memorialis constantly with Him! Yes, it is in God, Himself, that the memorial of His people is fixed.
I suppose the allusion is to an Oriental custom, possibly not very common, but still common enough to have survived to thisday. Mr. John Anderson, the pastor of the Presbyterian Church at Helensburgh, who was a very dear friend of mine, told methat on one or two occasions, he had seen, in the East, men who had the portraits of their friends, and others who had theinitials of their friends, on the palms of their hands. I said to him, "But I suppose that, in time, they would wash off orwear out." "No," he said, "they were tattooed too deeply in to be removed, so that, whenever they opened their hand, therewere the familiar initials, or some resemblance to the features of the beloved one, to keep him always in remembrance." Andthe Lord here adopts that ancient custom and says, "I cannot forget you. It is impossible for Me to do so, for I have engravedyou where the memorial can never be apart from Myself. 'I have engraved you upon the palms of My hands.'"
Now, what is it, dear Friends, that makes it so certain that God cannot forget His people? Well, first, God remembers Hiseternal love to His people, and His remembrance of them is constant because of that love. He says to each believing soul,"I have loved you with an everlasting love." The people of God were loved by Him long before the world was created-He hasloved them too long to ever forget them. "I have loved too long," said one man, "to be turned aside by the blandishment ofanother." We cannot imagine anything that could separate us from that dear heart to which our heart is knit even with a humanlove. While both of us shall live, the two are, indeed, one. And God has loved us more than husbands love their wives, orfathers love their children, or brothers love their brothers. His love is like a great ocean of which all human love is buta drop of spray! And He has loved us so long, so well, so deeply, so unreservedly, that He cannot forget us. Even when anyof His people wanders from Him and grieves His heart, He says, "Yes, but I have loved you with an everlasting love, and Iwill not cast you off. Though all that you now are might tend to wean Me from you, yet Mine is not the love of yesterday,it is not a passion like that which flames within some men for a brief space and then quickly goes out in darkness." It isGod's eternal love that makes Him keep us in memory! He has engraved us, from all eternity, upon the palms of His hands and,therefore, He cannot forget us.
Next, God's suffering love secures His memory of us. Well did we sing, just now-
"The palms of My hands while I look on I see The wounds I received when suffering for thee!" Oh, how deeply the cruel engraverscut our names in Christ's dear hands! Those nails that fastened Him to the Cross were the engraving tools and He leaned hardwhile the iron pierced through flesh, and nerve and vein. Yet the engraving of which our text speaks is more than that, forthe Lord Himself says, "I have engraved you upon the palms of My hands." The sufferings of Christ for us were such that never,by any possibility, can He forget us. Since He has died for us, He will never cast us away. By His death, on Calvary's Cross,Christ ensured that all those for whom He died shall live with Him in His Kingdom as surely as He, Himself, lives. He paidnot in vain such a tremendous price-neither shall He lose any part of that which He has thus purchased for Himself! What ablessed memorial, then, is not only God's eternal love, but Christ's suffering love!
Yet again, by the expression, "I have engraved you upon the palms of My hands," God seems to say, "I have done so much foryou that I can never forget you." God has actively worked for His people in many ways, but I will only now mention what HisSpirit has worked in you. What a theme that is! And, from the fact that the Spirit of God has worked so much in us, we derivethe satisfaction that He will never forget us. A man does not forget the work of His own hands, especially if it is somethingvery choice. I remember that, in the siege of Paris, a great artist hid away a grand picture which was then but partly finished.Did he forget to go to Paris when it had its liberty, and to seek out his painting? Assuredly not! He remembered the workof his own hands and back he went to draw it out and put the finishing touches to it. So God has done too much for us forHim ever to lose us. Has He not created us anew in Christ Jesus, and given His Spirit to dwell within us? Then, surely, Hewill never turn away from work so costly, so Divine-but He will complete it to His own praise and Glory!
But, once more, when a memorial is engraved on a man's hand, then it is connected with the man's life. While he lives, thatmemorial is a part of his life. So is it with God. He has linked His people with His life. Our Lord Jesus said to His disciples,"Because I live, you shall live also." The union between your Incarnate God and yourself is a thing which is so complete thatyour life is intertwined with His life! Christ and you have become one fabric. To tear you away would be to destroy Him. "Yourlife is hidden with Christ in God" and until Christ Himself shall die, His people shall not die. Oh, think of this wondrousmystery! The ever-blessed Son of God is bound up in the bundle of life with all His people!
This I take to be the meaning of the Lord's words, "I have engraved you upon the palms of My hands." I cannot go deeper intothis blessed subject, but I pray God to take you deeper, for there is a great depth here.
III. Now, Beloved, I turn to the third head of my discourse, upon which I will be very brief. We have had a fear expressedand a comfort bestowed. Now, here is AN INSPECTION INVITED. "Behold," says Jehovah, "Behold, I have engraved you upon thepalms of My hands."
Come, then. "Behold." Look for yourselves. There is God the Father. Did you say that He had forsaken you? But how can thatbe? Behold, and see. He is your Father if you are trusting in His Son, Jesus Christ. Do you forget, do you forsake your ownchildren? Tell me! You had a boy who well-near broke your heart. He went away and you were sadly glad when he went, for hehad so grieved you that you thought it better that he should be out of sight. But have you forgotten him? Suppose he cameback tonight? 'Tis years, now, since he left you without your blessing. Mother, you have never heard from him. Father, notidings of your boy ever come to you. But if, when you went home tonight, there should be a big fellow sitting by the fireside-notyour boy any longer, and yet your own long lost son-after the first surprise and after you had seen that it was your son,tell me, Mother, would you turn him out of doors for all his ingratitude to you? Father, what would you do, first of all?I know what I would do if it were my case-I would fondly kiss that cheek, and bless God that I had lived to see my son again,whatever he might have been, and however much he might have grieved me! If you, then, being evil, neither forget nor forsakeyour children, will your Father who is in Heaven forget you? Behold, and see if it is possible! God the everlasting Fatherdoes so intensely love, so Infinitely love His own children that it must never be dreamt for a moment that it is possiblefor Him to forget any one of them!
Come, now, and look again. Behold, by faith, the second Person of the Blessed Trinity in Unity, Jesus, the Lamb of God. Lookat Him on the Cross. Oh, what griefs He bore there for His people! Take down the blessed body-(you can scarcely bear to handleit), and help to wrap it in its linen cloths, and lay it in the tomb. Why did He suffer thus? Why did He die? For His ownloved ones! Then, can He ever forget them? Is it possible? After all that agony, can Jesus forget? Oh, no! Our children mayforget us, but the mother remembers how she suffered for the child and she loves it for the very pangs she endured in itsbirth. She knows the struggles of her widowhood to find bread for the child-how she starved herself to satisfy its hunger.Oh, what agony and self-denial some parents have suffered for their children! But these make them all the dearer and renderit all the more impossible that they should ever forget them. Well, then, remembering all this, look into the face of yourSavior, who died for you, and will you dare to say that He can possibly forget you? It cannot be! He has engraved you uponthe palms of His hands and He will never forget or forsake you!
Then think, also, of that dear and blessed Spirit of God who has come into your heart and striven with you when you resistedHim and, at last, won the day. And, since then, has helped your infirmities, checked your hastiness, awakened you from yoursloth and been everything to you that He could be-and do you think that, after all this, He will ever forget or forsake you?Oh, if He had meant to cast you away, He has had many opportunities when He might have done so! Surely, He would never havecome to dwell in such a hovel as your fallen nature is if He had not intended to transform it and make it into a pure alabasterpalace wherein the living God might dwell! "Behold," says the Lord. That is, look into this great Truth of God-look deeplyinto it-and then say to yourself, "My fears of being forgotten or forsaken are all gone, for I am engraved upon the palmsof His hands."
IV. So I close by referring very briefly to the last point, which is this, A RETURN SUGGESTED. I want, Brothers and Sisters,to speak in a very homely and familiar way to each one of you and, at the same time, to
be speaking to myself as well as to you.
Does Christ remember us as I have tried to prove that He does? Then, let us remember Him. To that end He ordained that blessedSupper to which many of us are presently coming-the eating of the bread and the drinking of the cup in memory of Him. "Thisdo you in remembrance of Me." Now try to forget everything but your Lord and Savior. Pass an
act of oblivion on all your cares, troubles and sorrows-and only look at Him as though, like a mysterious stranger, He stoodat the pew door and leaned over you, and you seemed to feel His shadow falling upon you. Now think of Him, for He is verynear you, and you are very near to Him.
And, Brothers and Sisters, let us not only remember Him at His Table, but let us remember Him constantly. Let us, as it were,carry His name upon the palms of ourhands. Let us ask God to help us always to think of Jesus-never to forget Him, but tohave the memory of Him intertwined with our very breathing, with the pulsing of our blood-till our whole nature, like a bell,shall ring out but one note, and that shall be love to Jesus! And our heart shall be like Ana-creon's harp, of which he saidthat he wished to sing of the deeds of Cadmus, but his heart and his harp resounded only love. Oh, for the love of Christto be the one all-engrossing, all-absorbing theme of our entire being, till we truly say to Christ, "I have engraved You uponthe palms of my hands."
And, Brothers and Sisters, let us remember Christ practically. We ought so to wear Christ on our hands that whatever we touchshould be thereby Christianized. I have heard of the "christening" of babies-that is an idle superstition and a perversionof Christ's ordinance of Believers' Baptism-but I believe in the Christening of everything a Christian touches! Make it allChrist-like by doing everything in the name of the Lord Jesus, as the Apostle Paul says, "Whether therefore you eat, or drink,or whatever you do, do all to the glory of God." Thus engrave His name upon the palms of your hands.
And, so Brothers and Sisters, let the name of Christ and your memory of it become vital to you. Not with a broad phylactery,not with the borders of your garments enlarged, not with outward signs and tokens of which some think a good deal too muchin these days-for true religion consists not in a dress of this cut or that, nor does it lie in boasting, like Pharisees,what we are, sounding our own praise at the corners of the streets that all may know it and observe! True religion lies inthis-that we cannot live without Christ, that our ordinary life becomes uplifted by the Christ who dwells within us till everymeal is a sacrament, every garment is a vestment, every place is an altar, and the whole world a temple in which we are kingsand priests because God has made us so! Unto this may we each of us come, and come now!
If any of you have not yet believed in Jesus, oh, how I wish you would! As I am going away for a while, I shall not be ableto speak personally to you for some time to come, but I hope that those whom my voice has failed to influence, may be reachedby some other servant of the Lord Jesus Christ who shall occupy this pulpit to speak to you in my absence. Oh, that you allknew my Lord! There is none like Him! His bonds are freedom! His service is rest! To die for Him is life! To live for Himis Heaven! God bring you to Him and fasten you to Him forever! Amen, and Amen.
EXPOSITION BY C. H. SPURGEON: JOHN14:1-21.
We have often read this chapter, both in our private meditations and at our public worship, but we cannot read it too often.It is sweet as honey and the honeycomb. It contains the very quintessence of consolation. Every word in the chapter is richand full of meaning. Perhaps they understand it best who cannot read it quickly, but are obliged to spell over every wordof it and so are like those who feast upon marrow and fatness.
Verse 1. Let not your heart be troubled: you believe in God, believe also in Me. That is the cure for heart-trouble, and allother trouble, too-believing in God, and believing in His Son, Jesus Christ. Faith is the double cure of trouble, for it deliversus altogether from the trouble and, at the same time, it helps us to find sweetness in it as long as we have to endure it.Notice that our Savior says, "Let not your heartbe troubled." If your heart can be preserved from trouble, you will not begreatly tried by it. Trouble is in your house, perhaps, but, if so, let it not get into your heart. The waves beat all roundyour vessel, but let not the vessel itself leak and take in the water. "Let not your heart be troubled."
2. In My Father's house are many mansions: if it were not so, I would have told you. I go to prepare a place for you. Thiswas very largely the cause of their trouble-they were full of sorrow because their Lord and Master was going away from them.Yet He was going for their good. It was with a set purpose that He was leaving them, and the same reason still keeps Him awayfrom us. We are not to mourn for Him as we might for one slain in battle who would never come back to us. He has gone fora little while to another country, to the great Father's House, upon a most gracious and nec-
essary errand-"I go to prepare a place for you." The Spirit of God is down here to prepare us for the place-the Son of Godis up yonder to prepare the place for us!
3. And if I go and prepare a place for you, I will come again and receive you unto Myself; that where I am, there you maybe also. Do not tell us about a "purgatory" for Christ's people, a limbo in which they are to be awhile to be prepared toshare His Glory. No, He will come at the right time and take them to be where He is, and they shall have the very place thatJesus has! "I will come again, and receive you unto Myself; that where I am, there you may be also." Do you need a betterrest than that after all your work and warfare here below? Does not this prospect cheer you while you are journeying downthe hill of life? It is better on ahead.
4. And where 1 go you know, and the way you know. "You know that I am going to the Father, and you know that I am, Myself,the Way to the Father; I am going from where I came."
5. 6. Thomas said unto Him, Lord, we knownot where You go; and how can we know the way? Jesus said unto him, I am the Way,the Truth, and the Life. "I am all that you need on your Way to Heaven-the Truth that will make Heaven for you-and the Lifewhich you will enjoy with Me forever in Heaven. I give you all that while you are yet here
6. No man comes unto the Father, but by Me. There is no getting to God except through Christ. Those who say that we can goto Heaven without a Mediator know not what they say, or say what they know to be a lie! There can be no acceptable approachto the Father except by Jesus Christ the Son!
7. If you had known Me, you should have known My Father also. For Christ is also "the Mighty God, the Everlasting Father."All the Character of God is seen in the Christ of God, and he who truly comes to Christ has really come to the Father.
7. And from henceforth you know Him, and have seen Him. I hope that this may be said of many of us, that we do truly knowGod and, since we have seen Christ by faith, we have seen the Father also.
8. Philip said unto Him, Lord, show us the Father, and it suffices us. What a comfort these questions and blunders of Thomasand Philip ought to be to us, for it is clear that we are not the only dolts in Christ's school! And if He could bear withthem, He can bear with us also. Like they, how little do we retain of that which He teaches us! We are taught much, but welearn little, for we are such poor scholars. Our memory holds but little and our understanding still less of what we havebeen taught, and we are all too apt to want something that we can see, just as Philip said, "Lord, show us the Father, andit suffices us."
9-11. Jesus said unto him, Have I been so long a time with you, and yet have you not known Me, Philip? He that has seen Mehas seen the Father; and why do you say, then, Show us the Father? Don't you believe that I am in the Father, and the Fatherin Me? The words that I speak unto you, I speak not of Myself but the Father that dwells in Me, He does the works. BelieveMe that I am in the Father, and the Father in Me: or else believe Me for the very works' sake. Note how the Master continuedto urge His disciples to believe. Again and again He returned to that vital point-"Do you believe?".. .believe Me.. .believeMe." This He did because there is no relief from heart-trouble but by believing the everlasting Truth of God and especiallyby believing Him who is "the Truth." The Believer, alone, has true peace of heart. The unbeliever is tossed to and fro onthe billows of the great ocean of doubt-how can he rest? There is nothing for him to rest upon. Happily, Christ is still saying,"Come unto Me, and I will give you rest," and they are truly wise who accept His gracious invitation!
12. Verily, verily, I say unto you, He that believes on Me, the works that I do shall he do also; and greater works than theseshall he do; because I go unto My Father When Christ had gone back to the Father, He opened all Heaven's treasures for Hispeople. He bestowed the Spirit of all Grace, and so His servants were helped to do even greater works than He, Himself, didwhile He was upon the earth. We cannot add anything to His Atonement-that work must forever stand as complete and unique-butthere are other forms of service in which He engaged in His earthly ministry, in which His servants have gone far beyond Him.The Lord Jesus Christ never preached a sermon after which 3,000 were converted and baptized in one day. To a large extentHe kept His personal ministry within the bounds of Palestine, but, after His Resurrection, when the Spirit was poured outat Pentecost, then, in the power of the Spirit, greater works than His were worked the wide world over!
13, 14. And whatever you shall ask in My name, that will I do, that the Father may be glorified in the Son. If you shall askanything in My name, I will do it. Is that promise true to every man? Certainly not! It was made by Christ to His own disciplesand not absolutely to all of them, but only to them as they believe in Him, as they are filled with His Spirit, and as theykeep His commandments. There are some of God's children who have little power with Him in prayer-some who walk so disorderlythat since they do not listen to God's Words, He will not listen to theirs. Yet He will give them necessities as you giveeven to your naughty and disobedient children. But He will not give them the luxury of prevailing prayer and that full fellowshipwith Him which comes through abiding in Him. Such luxuries He saves for His obedient children who are filled with His Spirit.Even under the old dispensation, David wrote, "Trust in the Lord, and do good; so shall you dwell in the land, and verilyyou shall be fed. Delight yourself also in the Lord; and He shall give you the desires of your heart." And in a very specialsense, under the new dispensation, that spirituality of mind which enables us to delight in God is a necessary antecedentto our obtaining the desires of our heart in the high and spiritual sphere of prayer.
15-17. If you love Me, keep My commandments. And I will pray the Father, and He shall give you another Comforter, that Hemay abide with you forever; even the Spirit of Truth; whom the world cannot receive, because it sees Him not, neither knowsHim. The world is carnal. It is unspiritual. Therefore, it is unable to see or to know the Spirit of God. A man outside aspiritual nature cannot recognize the Holy Spirit-he must be born again before he can do so. You who are only soul and bodyneed to receive that third and loftier principle-the spirit which is worked in us by the Spirit of God! Until you have it,this verse applies to you-"The Spirit of Truth; whom the world cannot receive, because it sees Him not, neither knows Him."
17. But you know Him. Christ's own disciples know Him.
17-19. For He dwells with you, andshall be in you. I will not leave you comfortless: I will come to you. Yet a little while,and the world sees Me no more; but you see Me: because I live, you shall live also. Oh, what a rich promise! How, then, canChrist's people ever perish? Until Christ Himself perishes, no child of His can ever be lost!
20. At that day you shall know that I am in My Father, and you in Me, and I in you. Three wondrous mysteries of union-Christin the Father, the Church in Christ, and Christ in His Church.
21. He that has My commandments, and keeps them, he it is that loves Me: and he that loves Me shall be loved of My Father,and I will love him, and will manifest Myself to him. May we be such lovers of Christ that He may love us and manifest Himselfto us, for His name's sake! Amen.